Navigation Links
Neurons generated in the adult brain learn to respond to novel stimuli

New brain cells that develop in the olfactory system of adult mice appear to play a role in the brain different from that of older neurons. The new olfactory neurons are especially sensitive to novel stimuli, preferentially learning to respond to new odors. This level of flexibility suggests that such newly-generated neurons could be induced to adapt to and integrate into other regions of the brain, perhaps allowing them to replace neurons lost to injury or disease. The report from researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-Harvard Medical School (HMS) Center for Nervous System Repair (CNSR) appears in the Nov. 16 Journal of Neuroscience.

"Our results show that these new neurons have a lot of plasticity and can contribute to important learning and memory functions of the brain, suggesting that similar, newly recruited neurons may be able to function in other parts of the brain," says Sanjay Magavi, PhD, who led the study as a fellow in the laboratory of Jeffrey Macklis, MD, DHST, director of the MGH-HMS CNSR. "Eventually we'd like to be able to redirect brain cell precursors or stem cells to make other types of neurons in regions of the brain that do not normally regenerate." Magavi is now a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

It had long been believed that neurons, the active cells of the brain and nervous system, do not regenerate. Recent research has shown, however, that new cells are added to certain areas of the brain ?including those involved with memory and the sense of smell ?well into adulthood. Very recent work, in particular a number of studies from the MGH-HMS CNSR team, shows that neural precursors/stem cells can be induced to form some of the much more complex neurons in the cerebral cortex, the brain's highest-level structure. The current study was designed to investigate whether newly generated olfactory neurons simply replace older neurons or play a distinct role in learning and memory.

The investigators used two groups of mice whose precursor cells had been labeled to mark those that were dividing, allowing identification of newly generated, adult-born neurons. These mice were then exposed either to a panel of unusual odors or to a normal environment. Several weeks later, the response of the adult-born neurons was evaluated by measuring the activity of genes known to be expressed when olfactory neurons respond to odors.

They found that the adult-born olfactory neurons of mice exposed to the panel of odors subsequently responded more strongly to those odors than did adult-born neurons of mice that had no experience with the odors. The findings suggest that the new cells specialize in detecting previously unencountered odors and in subsequently responding to those smells.

"These contrasting responses suggest that adult-born olfactory neurons have a unique role in the brain, becoming linked to new smells while the older neurons essentially step out of the way. And since adult-born neurons are continually being generated, there is always a group of new cells waiting to link up with new stimuli," Macklis says. "We're also seeing how the environment can alter adult-born neurons and how experience and activity are important for making sure new cells integrate properly."

An associate professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Macklis also notes, "These results can contribute to our efforts, and those of others in the field, to repair diseased brain and spinal cord by directed development of specific neurons from precursor/stem cells. Our experiments show that new neurons can join brain circuits and function in complex ways ?contributing to learning, memory and potentially to motor function ?and that we may need to retrain the brain to use the new neurons effectively."


'"/>

Source:Massachusetts General Hospital


Related biology news :

1. Neurons find their place in the developing nervous system with the help of a sticky molecule
2. Neurons grown from embryonic stem cells restore function in paralyzed rats
3. For first time, brain cells generated in a dish
4. Recent breakthroughs in common adult leukemia highlighted in New England Journal of Medicine
5. Study finds adult stem cells can replicate
6. Researchers discover mechanism for multiplying adult stem cells
7. Suppressing growth hormone in early adulthood may prevent cancer
8. A new window into structural plasticity in the adult visual cortex
9. MIT researcher finds neuron growth in adult brain
10. New neurons take baby steps in the adult brain
11. Changes to embryos can elicit change in adult fish
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/7/2017)... , March 7, 2017   HireVue , ... top global companies identify the best talent, faster, today ... Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and Diana Kucer ... round out a seasoned executive team poised to drive continued ... building on a year of record bookings in 2017. ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... 2017 Summary This report provides ... KGaA and its partnering interests and activities since 2010. ... Description The Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 report ... one of the world,s leading life sciences companies. ... to ensure inclusion of the most up to date ...
(Date:3/1/2017)... BEDFORD, Mass. , March 1, 2017  Aware, ... and services, announced that Richard P. Moberg ... Officer and co-President and Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer ... will continue to serve as a member of the ... T. Russell , Aware,s co-Chief Executive Officer and co-President, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... CT (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... LLC, was recently selected by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 ... at CTC’s thirteenth annual Women of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company Cool Planet has ... note conversion to commercialize its Cool Terra and Cool ... developing products that are simultaneously profitable as well as ... last 18 months. This latest round of funding was ... The company,s primary product, Cool Terra, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... Researchers ... from small lab samples to full-size tissues, bones, even whole organs to implant ... system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. , Current bioengineering ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 Oramed ... ( www.oramed.com ), a ... oral drug delivery systems, announced today that Dr. ... will deliver a presentation titled, "Oral Insulin for ... Cambridge Healthtech Institute,s Oligonucleotide and Peptide Therapeutics (OPT) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: